You’ve likely heard the buzz over Employer Branding. We’ve seen excellent articles detailing the steps to success, as well as tips to measure your Employer Brand. It’s obvious that Employer Branding has emerged as an important topic in Talent Acquisition, but one question still remains: what is the impact?

The benefits of Employer Branding are obvious for candidates. They get a look inside your company, see your people in action, and get an overall feel for the work environment. While the benefits to candidates may be obvious, the impact of Employer Branding on the business is not as clear.

I’ve had the opportunity to hear from recruiting executives about the impact they are seeing from Employer Branding. Here are the top 5 recurring themes.

1. Time To Fill

The stories told by your employees are the highest impact on candidates.

The stories told by your employees are the highest impact on candidates.

Ask any salesperson, and they’ll tell you that inbound leads convert at a much higher rate than cold calls. This is no different for Talent Acquisition. Most companies start a search by sourcing new candidates, and emailing them to gauge their interest. Imagine a different scenario where you open up a new position and have interested candidates to call without going straight to sourcing. That is the power of inbound interest.

In Talent Acquisition, inbound interest shouldn’t just be applications. Those focused on Employer Branding should build a talent pipeline. There are two keys to building a talent pipeline: providing candidates an “opt-in” and listening to what candidates have to say. Providing a call to action where candidates can “opt-in” for job alerts, company news, and learn about events is the first half of the battle. Once that is done, recruiters must pay attention to what is being said on social channels and through direct contact.

Avoid one-way communication that is all about jobs, listen to your audience, and engage them. That is a strong recipe for building a talent pipeline.

Impact: A strong Talent Pipeline reduces your Time To Fill. 

2. Cost Per Hire (CPH)

There are Talent Acquisition experts who say that measuring CPH is silly, as it reduces your strategic impact on hiring. If all you are focused on is CPH, then this is probably true. However, most organizations are able to look at CPH as just one criteria in measuring the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts.

CPH is relevant because the vast majority of Talent Acquisition departments have a specific headcount they need to hire, and a finite budget with which to do it. Thus, they need to fit within a specific CPH to hit their goals. I recently spent time with a recruiting executive for a public internet company that is hiring hundreds of salespeople this year. He was clear about his goal of getting their CPH to $1,500. The key is that this executive understood that Employer Branding can have a big impact on hitting their numbers.

The primary source of their hires is referrals. They do a great job of letting their employees speak out and sell the company. That serves as a force of attraction for candidates to the organization. Beyond referrals, the company is leveraging multiple online channels to tell the story of their team. Those efforts make it easier to identify talent, and that makes it less expensive to hire.

Impact: A strong Employer Brand can lower your Cost Per Hire.

3. Company Culture

A successful Employer Brand revolves around two groups of people, your employees and candidates. A company can produce all the spiffy web pages and slick commercials they want, but that does not guarantee success. People are smart enough to perceive when a recruiting video is merely a “commercial”, or when an email from a recruiter is just a “pitch”. Look at your LinkedIn news feed, and you’ll see plenty of dull, one-paragraph pitches about jobs.

Being transparent with your culture lets candidates know what to expect.

Being transparent with your culture lets candidates know what to expect.

People respond to people, and that is why employee and candidate engagement builds a tremendous Employer Brand. In a recent conversation with a recruiting executive at Dolby Labs, he stressed the importance of listening to what candidates had to say. I thought this was astute and profound. Much of the communication model in recruiting is one-way from company to candidate. If a company is listening to candidates before they become employees, it sets the stage for a communication model that will drive an open and transparent company culture.

The other key is that being transparent about your culture makes the on-boarding process smoother. People know what to expect before they ever step foot in the door. And when I say transparent, it means show more of the actual workspace. You can do this through pictures, videos, and hosting events. Too many times companies settle for uploading pics from the latest party, trade show, or company trip. Candidates appreciate seeing people at work. They can picture whether it is for them or not.

Impact: Your Company Culture  is strengthened by a transparent Employer Brand.

4. Revenue Growth

In a recent conversation with video search-engine blinkx, their Chief Marketing Officer linked their efforts in Employer Branding to the overall company strategy.

Think about it…people that perceive your company to have a strong Employer Brand may be more likely to buy your products and services. When people spend money, they generally like to know that a company is reputable and treats its employees well. Look no further that iconic companies like Apple and Nike for Employer Branding having a negative impact on business growth (although they weren’t slowed for long).

Having an Employer Brand that is focused on your people translates well to social media and other outlets where your customers interact. Business leaders have long clamored for trying to connect Talent Acquisition to the business. The process of building a strong Employer Brand builds a bridge between Talent Acquisition and driving revenue.

Impact: Employer Branding is a direct driver of Revenue Growth.

5. Quality of Hire

Opportunities for training can be a draw for candidates.

Opportunities for training can be a draw for candidates.

If you’ve got a top performing team that is highly engaged in the recruitment process, you’ll be in great shape. The 2013 CareerXRoads survey said that 24.5% of hires come via referral. Ancedotely, every single employer I talk to says that referrals are their number one source for hire. I’ve even heard numbers as high as 70% of hires coming via referrals. This can be great, but can cause problems too.

If you’ve got an organization that is consistent in growing the careers of employees, those folks will relay that message to those they refer. Candidates can be drawn in by career growth, but also the opportunity to make a difference. People like to work on things they are passionate about, and you have an opportunity to communicate that with your Employer Brand.

On the other side of the coin, a poor Employer Brand could be devastating on your quality of hire. When you have a scenario where employees are referring candidates to collect a referral fee, there could be trouble. In a perfect world, you want your employees referring people because they believe in the company and your mission. If they are doing that, your quality of hire can improve dramatically.

Impact: An Employer Brand built on career growth can raise your Quality Of Hire.

Making The Case

As you read articles about building your Employer Brand, many ideas will come up. Some may cost money, and some may be free. If you’re like most Talent Acquisition professionals you’ve got to provide an ROI when you want to invest time and resources.

Keeping these 5 impacts in mind will help as you decide the path you want to pursue in building a strong Employer Brand.

Jason Webster

Jason Webster is a social recruiting enthusiast and co-founder of Ongig, a platform that creates shareable, visually-appealing job descriptions. He has spoken at multiple social recruiting events, where his passion for candidate experience is the primary topic. Connect with Jason and Ongig on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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